Digital transformation is about more than just technology; it provides new ways to deliver value. More than a buzzword, digital transformation is the process of implementing emerging technologies to modify a company’s essential operations, processes, and services. When it comes to healthcare, digital transformation includes creating the digital hospital of the future. It’s about leveraging technology to streamline and improve care. Its value extends from the ability to self-schedule appointments on the front end to using advanced analytics and robotic process automation (RPA) to settle claims on the back end. It’s about using technology to optimize each aspect of the patient experience.
As staff shortages and resource constraints continue in healthcare across the country, digital transformation can benefit the patient, staff, and facility in numerous ways. With the promise to re-engineer processes that don’t add value and automate tasks that are increasingly difficult and time-consuming, digital transformations allow staff to spend more time on patient care. Patients today want personalized experiences that meet their individual needs and provide better outcomes; digital transformations meet this demand.
Here are three ways that successful digital transformation can impact patient care and staff in 2023.
1. How to Apply Integrations & Interoperability in 2023
Interoperability and the ability to integrate data from different providers and systems into one easy-access platform holds great promise for patient care and staff satisfaction. By leveraging a secure and advanced digital platform, patients can review their health records, check prescriptions, schedule appointments, request additional information from doctors, view lab results, and share health data with their providers. These tools also pair with patients’ personal devices, allowing individuals to safely navigate their health journey from the comfort of their own phone or tablet. Patients who are actively engaged in their own healthcare journeys see more improvement than passive participants.
According to a new WBR Insights survey, 43% of healthcare executives have recently adopted new patient-facing digital engagement tools. Among these, 95% say their tools have improved the patient experience and outcomes. For example, television systems can be transformed into communication hubs to better connect patients and providers throughout the recovery process. This is achieved through cost-effective integrations between the latest television technology and existing HIT applications, which open the door to an enhanced patient experience with educational materials and improved collaboration tools. Physician-prescribed digital journeys guide patients through a specific care episode to benefit the patient outcome and reduce readmission or help with the ongoing management of a chronic condition. Advanced systems offer a provider dashboard that integrates with the electronic health record (EHR) and allows the care team to monitor patient progress in real-time.
Another highly beneficial EHR integration is appointment scheduling, which enables patients to coordinate their doctor visits with ease from their personal devices. Due to missed appointments, hospitals nationwide lose $150 billion each year and an estimated $200 for each no-show appointment. On the patient side, missed appointments can delay important care. By offering convenient appointment planning, patients are more likely to engage, schedule, and attend.
The most advanced technology leverages capabilities that keep patients and healthcare professionals better connected. This is achieved through interactive patient systems leveraging open APIs, which allow added functionality via EHR and integrations with systems such as nurse call, environmental controls, and meal ordering to drive patient satisfaction and operational efficiency.
2. Increase Your Operational Efficiency
Digital transformation in hospitals provides automation for lower-skilled, repetitive tasks, allowing staff to return focus to patient care. Integrations with interactive systems encourage the patient to manage non-clinical aspects of their admission with ease, allowing access to environmental room controls, responding directly to digital care instructions, and more. For example, the patient can change the room’s temperature, lower the lights, order a meal, and place a service request without needing facetime with a nurse. It gives the patient a sense of independence and allows staff to remain focused on care.
Digital whiteboards in patient rooms and digital door signs conveniently convey critical information to family and staff, such as daily schedules, precautions, patient repositioning, and the current care team. This automatically updates from integrated hospital systems without manual inputs from staff, streamlining the delivery of care, increasing transparency, and reducing time spent performing unnecessary or repetitive tasks.
Reassigning non-clinical care and administrative tasks allows staff to focus on patient care. For example, the systems leverage data in the EHR to select relevant educational content for a patient and respond to learning verification questions that are documented back into the medical record and/or can trigger an alert to a provider. Empowering patients and families to be informed partners in their care improves outcomes while creating opportunities for staff to make immediate adjustments to improve the patient experience.
3. Encourage Collaboration & Improve Communication
Done right, digital transformation makes care delivery more accessible and understandable for all patients. Data-driven careflows that present an engagement roadmap for patients during an admission will enhance experience while preparing the patient and family for a smooth care transition. This can include:
- optimizing systems to deliver discharge medications directly to the patient’s bed
- prescribing language appropriate rehab videos that can be viewed during hospital recovery but also accessible to the patient from personal devices after discharge
- ensuring follow-up appointments with appropriate providers have been booked
- coordinating a ride home for the patient with a family member or friend on the day of discharge.
Providers will be able to offer more customized care to patients and grant more efficient and seamless communication. When patients gain access to their health data, they’re empowered to make more informed decisions about the kind of care they would like to receive during and after a hospital admission.
A New Era for Healthcare
The shift toward cross-continuum care creates opportunities for mobile-optimized digital care journeys that engage and activate patients before, during, and after care. Digital technology bolsters more efficient care coordination, giving patients the right care and support at the right times in the right settings. With digital transformation, indirect communication and redundancy are eliminated, response times are reduced, and the overall care journey is more efficient.
When considering implementing a system update, healthcare facilities should select a partner with a secure patient engagement system that integrates fully with the existing HIT. By picking a trusted end-to-end service partner in 2023, the team will be on the job every step of the way ensuring a reliable setup for both the patient and the staff.